“We’ll have to pray hard,” laughed NC coach Kang Myung-hyun as he explained the timetable for the team’s ace, Koo Chang-mo (26), who is currently sidelined with an injury, ahead of the Incheon SSG match on 9 September. Of course, he was joking, but it was not difficult to feel the emotions of the grieving commander.
Prayers may not only be with Kang, but also with Hangzhou Asian Games head coach Liu Zhong-il. Koo Chang-mo is not only the ace of the NC, but he is also expected to be the ace of the Hangzhou team. When healthy, that title is well-deserved, which means that the NC’s season, as well as the team’s gold medal race, will depend on her presence or absence.
After being diagnosed with a fatigue fracture in his left forearm, Koo Chang-mo will undergo a recheck on the 11th. He is expected to recheck the status of the injury and decide on his future schedule. Koo made a start against the LG on 2 June, but after throwing just five pitches, he felt something wrong with his arm and voluntarily left the game. An initial examination revealed a micro-damage to the flexor pollicis longus muscle, and a fatigue fracture was later discovered, and he has not been able to throw a ball since.
At the end of June, I was told I would need three to five weeks of stabilisation. That time has now passed. Now we need to see how much the body’s tissues have returned to normal during that time. That’s why so much depends on the 11-day check-up.
If the 11-day review says, ‘You’ve recovered enough to start pitching gradually,’ then you’ll be put on a programme to return. At the other end of the spectrum, a ‘not yet’ diagnosis could mean a longer period of rest. It’s a crossroads.
Neither Kang nor Koo knows the exact timing of Koo’s return. He will have to wait for the results of the 11th examination. “He’ll have another examination on the 11th, and we’ll have to see the results of that examination to make a future schedule,” Kang said. Even if he’s cleared to pitch normally, he’ll still need time to build up to being a starter, which means he may not return until the end of the season.
NC is credited with making progress this season despite the odds. Actual foreign pitcher Taylor Widener was a late addition due to injury, and Koo Chang-mo only appeared in nine games. Other pitchers such as Lee Jae-hak and Choi Sung-young have also been or are still missing from the first team due to injuries. The crisis in the starting line-up, which is crucial in a long-term race, was quite big. In fact, NC has used 10 different starting pitchers already this season.
So far, they’ve managed to hang in there and still have a postseason berth (4th) and a winning percentage over .527, but stopgap measures are only stopgap measures, and they’re going to need a healthy dose of newcomers Tanner Tully and Lee Jae-hak Koo to see them through to the end. The importance of Koo Chang-mo is undoubtedly high, and the team will be keenly awaiting his 11th day check-up, which will determine when he can return.메이저놀이터
For the Asian Games team, the 11th examination will also be an important data for the ‘judgement’ on Koo Chang-mo. The KBO Power Enhancement Committee has yet to make any changes to the roster since the announcement of the final roster for the Asian Games. There are quite a few injuries, including Koo Chang-mo and Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom), but they will wait until the last minute to decide whether to call up a replacement. If a substitute is needed, there is also a plan to call up the player who is in the best shape by the end of the season.
The best-case scenario, however, is for Koo to return as soon as possible and be fully fit in time for the Asian Games call-up. Koo had a 1.74 ERA in 15 games in 2020 and a 2.10 ERA in 19 games in 2022. A healthy Koo is one of the strongest pitchers in the league. He’s one of the best pitchers in the league, and he’s expected to be used in the most important games of the tournament. The time may be coming for both of them.